TUESDAY 25 OCTOBER
After last Saturday's shocking performance at Brook house, manager Kelvin Hart made changes for this crucial AMT Group 1 game. A victory would have made progression to the Quarter Finals almost certain - defeat would make further progress dependent on beating Ware in the last game of the group. No pressure then.
ASSOCIATE MEMBERS TROPHY GROUP 1
HERTFORD TOWN 1 CLAPTON 2
In came Scott Neilson, brother of Tony and leading goalscorer in the Reserves, and Panayiotis Panayiotou, recent signing from Broxbourne Borough. The only ever present so far, goalkeeper Mark Virgo was carrying an injury, so reserve custodian, 18 year old James Sturgeon, made his first team debut.
Team: 1. James Sturgeon, 2. Simon Eden, 3. Adam Spenceley, 4. Paul Taylor, 5. Paul Evitt (capt), 6. Phil Leggatt, 7. Lee Judges, 8. Scott Neilson, 9. Panayiotis Panayiotou, 10 Peter Ulatowski, 11. Daryl Mitchell. Subs: 14. Ashley McAloon (for Taylor, 61), 15. Joel Maybury (for Spenceley, 64), 16. Lee Roberts (for Judges, 61)
The Blues should have scored in the first minute when debutant Scott Neilson had a glorious chance to net as he skipped through the Clapton rearguard but lobbed the ball just wide of the post. The home side went ahead in remarkable fashion on 3 minutes though. PETER ULATOWSKI was given offside by the linesman, despite indicating that he was not "active". The referee, seeing that Clapton 'keeper Francis Rymell had the ball, with no Hertford player anywhere near him, waved play on. Despite the referee shouting play on several times, the Tons' keeper rolled the ball out as if to take a free kick. Ulatowski had been listening to the referee though and nipped in smartly to place the ball into the net! Needless to say, Rymell was most upset but the goal stood.
On 11 minutes Pani Panayiotou was clean through, but like Neilson before him, couldn't find the net. Home 'keeper Sturgeon had to face his first shot on goal on 17 minutes when Darren Gray fired in a fierce effort, which the young 'keeper held well. Clapton were getting into their stride now, but their finishing was no better than the home side's. Tons' skipper Levi Willis came nearest, on 36 minutes and then Hertford should have gone two up right at the end of the half when Daryl Mitchell crossed perfectly to Peter Ulatowski, but his header was parried by Rymell for a corner.
Half Time: Hertford Town 1 Clapton 0
Daryl Mitchell tested Rymell with a 27 yard free kick on 50 minutes, but the 'keeper was up to the job, conceding a corner with a good stop. Adam Spenceley conceded a 56th minute corner with a fine interception but this led to Clapton's equaliser when moments later Steven Hounslow prodded home from close range. A draw wouldn't have been a bad outcome for either side, but Clapton had the taste of blood now, and the Blues' defence capitulated again five minutes later. James Sturgeon made a point blank range block with his legs only to see Darren Gray knock in the rebound.
What looked like a third Clapton goal was disallowed and then Hertford made their customary mass substitutions, sending on Ashley McAloon, Lee Roberts and Joel Maybury for Paul Taylor, Lee Judges and Adam Spenceley. and Roberts did make an impact down the left. On 85 minutes he crossed to Peter Ulatowski but the leading scorer failed to make contact.
Final Score: Hertford Town 1 Clapton 2